The benefits of switching to green energy

Green energy tariffs help contribute toward a cleaner planet and could even help you save on energy bills!

The benefits of switching to green energy

These last two years have seen people all across the UK fully embrace the idea of going green.

More and more consumers are choosing to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products or go vegan entirely because of environmental concerns.

It’s estimated that livestock are responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gases while the creation of farmland through deforestation releases all the CO2 stored in those trees back into our atmosphere.

Heartbreaking footage from Planet Earth II which showed a whale cradling the body of its poisoned calf also helped spark a global effort to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic.

Lots of consumers now shun the plastic bag in favour of bags for life when they go shopping and think to take a refillable water bottle out with them. A much wider selection of alternative plastic-free products are now available too like bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws, and biodegradable wipes.

Several studies have highlighted the incredibly harmful nature of both petrol and diesel vehicles which serve as a major source of air pollution here in the UK. Not only does transport account for around a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, but has also been linked to nearly 400,000 early deaths.

It’s no surprise then that the electric car has soared in popularity with its market share increasing by a huge 35% to make up 2.5% of the UK’s entire car market*.

Another major step you can take to significantly lower your carbon footprint is to switch over to a green energy tariff.

Rather than use crude oil, coal or any other fossil fuels, green energy tariffs sees suppliers use renewable energy that’s generated from a clean, natural source like water, the sun or the wind to power your home.

There’s a few different types of green energy tariffs, although none is any more or less effective at powering your home.

Those which you’ll see advertised as 100% renewable are comprised entirely of renewable energy while others provide a mix of renewable and non-renewable. A third type will instead make a note of your monthly usage and put the same amount of renewable energy back into the National Grid.

Suppliers are required by UK law to disclose exactly how much renewable energy they use in their mixed tariffs, so if you’re ever concerned that one isn’t “green enough” it’s a good idea to check that information on their website.

OVO Energy has estimated that switching to a green energy tariff can reduce your carbon footprint by an impressive average of four tonnes per year.

Back in 2015, industry watchdog Ofgem ruled that suppliers who offer green energy tariffs must also engage in other activities which benefit the environment. Known as additionalities, this extra commitment to bettering the planet provides an extra incentive to switch.

The UK’s biggest green energy supplier Bulb, for example, donates £2 to the charity Trees for Cities every time somebody switches to one of their green energy tariffs, while Octopus invests a small portion of customer funds into building more PV solar wind farms.

Many suppliers also now practice carbon offsetting which sees them work to balance out their own emissions. Npower for example, has partnered with Climate Care to offset 100% of the gas consumed by customers on their Go Green Energy Fix tariff by supporting projects to protect different rainforests across the globe.

These two London-based companies are two of the most well-known suppliers of 100% renewable energy tariffs in the UK with others including Co-operative Energy, Shell Energy, Green Star Energy and Green Energy UK.

Out of the UK’s Big Six energy suppliers, SSE, EDF Energy, British Gas, npower , E.ON and ScottishPower, it’s currently only British Gas and npower that offer green energy tariffs.

Others are still helping to contribute toward a cleaner planet however, as evidenced by E.ON’s pledge in July 2019 to supply 3.3 million of their 4.3 million customers with 100% renewable electricity at no extra cost.

The larger electricity companies are also working to contribute, having managed to reduce their carbon footprint by 850,000 tonnes since 2015*.

Green energy tariffs have a reputation as being considerably more expensive than your standard gas and electricity deal. While this may have been true in the past, recent figures have highlighted there’s definitely some savings to be made.

Our data shows that Bulb’s Vari-Fair tariff can net you a typical saving of £255 while Pure Planet, who operate on similarly uncomplicated basis and offer just one option, have the 100% Green tariff which could make you a huge typical saving of £292.

When you’re shopping around for a new energy deal it’s always best to use an online comparison site to see how much you could save.

British Gas and OVO Energy (who recently agreed to acquire SSE for £500 million) customers have also reported making typical savings of £271 and £130 on their respective green energy tariffs.

Switching to a green energy tariff obviously won’t reverse the damage that the production and burning of fossil fuels like coal and crude oil have already done to the environment, but it sets a much brighter precedent going forward.

Even today, it’s possible to see the highly positive impact that previous efforts to go green have had. The UK has managed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% between 1990 and 2017* while the period from 2010 to 2018 saw the energy sector as a whole work to lower their carbon emissions by an impressive 50%*.

Those recent stories which highlight information - like renewables generating 35.8% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of 2019, and this May seeing the country go two weeks without using any coal in the production of electricity for the first time since the 1880s - suggests the demand for green energy will only continue to increase.

*data taken from the State of the Energy Market Ofgem Report published on 03/10/19.

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